As soon as I walk into the park, I see him. Like me, he is early. I take a quick look, half-hidden between a tree and the fence. Broad shoulders, slender stockinged legs ending in suede shoes, a modest heel, but still creating a certain unsteadiness; a timidity that I think I can see in his back. With the slanting golden light of the low sun to my left, I take the shell path that leads down and around the water. I’ll leave him alone for just a little longer. I hope that, in his excitement, he doesn’t head for the rose garden as it starts to get dark. I want to give him the danger he is seeking, but preferably while he is safe. I am wearing more makeup than I am used to, and my hair is pulled back in a tight bun. Inside my bag, I have the artefact.
When the sun has set and the wind in the last rustling leaves has disappeared, I leave my spot by the pond and walk back. She is by the statue, just as we agreed, standing out in beautiful contrast: Artemis, large and white and superior, while she is fragile, with her eyes lowered in her white face surrounded by the darkness, one ankle crossed over the other. I walk over and stand close to her. She does not look at me; she lets me look at her. Under the clumsily applied makeup, there is something noble. I lay my hand on the side of her face, smooth. Taking hold of her chin, I turn her head towards me and force her to look me in the eyes. Am I scaring her? Her heart thumps under my fingertips on her throat. I kiss her; her mouth is wet and willing. I slide my hand into the dress I chose and bought, and I take her nipple between my thumb and forefinger.
I know she wants me to talk to her. I say nothing and breathe close to her ear. I run my hand over her buttocks, turn her to the side and put my hand up her dress now. She pushes her bum back a little as I move my fingers across the skin on the inside of her thigh above her stocking and then stroke the smooth fabric between her legs. I press my pelvis into her hip; she shivers, or pretends to shiver. I whisper a question: is she going to do as I tell her? She swallows, and then nods, slowly. I didn’t hear you, I say. Now she replies quickly, and quietly, also in a whisper, that she’ll do everything I say. I ask her if I can use her as I like. Yes, she says, please do whatever you want to me. Please. I grasp her more tightly, my hand between her legs, and thrust rhythmically against her from my hips. I slide my tongue into her ear.
I take her with me. My hand on her lower back, I guide her out of the park and onto the street. It is raining gently now. Look up, I say, and let the rain wet your face. At the front door of my house, I look at her. Her makeup is running. She asks if I live there, if I’m taking her to my home, if I really live in such a big, beautiful house. He’s acting badly now; I slip out of it for a moment. Into the hallway, I say, and no further.
I leave her standing on the mat by the door and go and sit on the third step up. We have a beautiful hallway, large and stately with old tiles and with ornamental features on the ceiling, a burgundy carpet on the stairs. Light from the streetlamp outside falls in through the leaded glass of the window above the door, and a soft orange-coloured light comes from upstairs, behind me.
I raise my knees a little and part my legs. Come here, I say, crawl slowly over here to me. On hands and knees, with her dress hitched up, she crawls to me across my hallway; over the tiled floor, her face looking up at mine, she crawls towards me. I lean back, with my elbows on a higher step. I open my legs wider. She asks if she can lick me. That depends, I say, that depends on whether you’re good at it. I’ll do my very best, she says. Go on then, I say, and I feel her mouth pressing against me. I rest my head on the staircase, close my eyes for a moment and let myself be carried away.
I come and then push her head away. She looks at me as a dog regards its owner. I say that I have to punish her, that I need to punish her for the filthy lust that’s inside her. She’s drooling or perhaps it’s my own wetness dripping from her lips. I lead her to the wall, turn her around and lay her down on the blanket chest. I pull down her panties over her buttocks. I fuck her with the dick as she leans forward on the chest in front of the mirror. Gently at first. And then harder, firmer. I don’t want to hurt her, I want her to surrender to me, I want her to know that she belongs to me. She groans and I tell her to be quiet. When she has come, I pull away from her. I watch as she tidies herself up. I give her one of my scarves. It’s cold outside, I say.
I drink a glass of wine in the kitchen, before going upstairs and getting undressed. I am lying in bed when I hear my husband come home. I listen to his movements in the house below me. I hear the water of the shower. Behind me, he comes in; he walks around the bed and slips under the covers. We lie facing each other, our four hands entwined between us. We look at each other for a long time. We are calm. I know he is wondering what I am seeing, who I am seeing. I’ll put my arms around him in a moment and let him sleep close to me.